Dr. MacKinnon is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of the Movement Disorders Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. The laboratory is part of the Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research at the University of Minnesota. He received his MSc. in Kinesiology (Biomechanics) from the University of Waterloo, PhD. in Physiology (Neuroscience) from the University of Toronto and postdoctoral training in human electrophysiology at University College London, UK.
His research program is focused on understanding the mechanisms contributing to impaired movement control in people with Parkinson’s disease. The laboratory uses kinesiological (motion capture, force platform), electrophysiological (TMS, EEG, EMG) neuroimaging (MRI, EEG) and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (TMS, tDCS) to examine the cortical, subcortical and spinal mechanisms contributing to akinesia (poverty of spontaneous voluntary movement), bradykinesia (slowing of movement) and postural instability and gait disturbances.
The laboratory is currently conducting a longitudinal study to examine the progression of Parkinson’s and the factors that influence the time course and expression of motor signs, particularly the development of gait and postural deficits and freezing of gait. Studies are also being conducted examining the effects and mechanisms of action of deep brain stimulation of the pallidum and subthalamic nucleus. The goal of the program is to translate this knowledge to the development, testing and implementation of novel therapies and interventions to improve movement, mobility and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.